Sunday, November 16, 2008

Buck a Bag...

Saturday, November 15, 2008... half a mile west of Harmony Grove Road. The Homeless Encampment and I was directed to this area out of a growing concern from the residents about the dangers of the fires that were being lit by the homeless especially during red flag warning days. This would make it the 3rd major incursion into their world and as much as I suspected the potential concerns, I couldn't be so rude as to turn down breakfast. There was a lot of work to do. Especially hauling out the trash.



Some people mistakenly believe that the homeless are responsible for the blight. In some cases this is true but there are many contributing factors along the aquaduct. Soccer balls, plastic and all forms of Styrofoams is in abundance, run-off from the various neighborhoods and industrial areas in Escondido and it all makes it's way down underneath the Harmony Grove Road overpass where it becomes a natural creek bed again.









From what I have witnessed, these catchments that are employed in order to screen some of this debris, the idea is good but the execution of it seems poor. They are not routinely cleaned and if they are, routinely may mean every 6 months from what I have seen and all that happens in this case is that when there is heavy rain, the trash and debris will just overtop the catchment and end up in the natural creek bed. There then is evidenced the sad and slow demise of this natural and beautiful resource.





As one can see there is practically a whole patch of land littered with prescription drug medicine bottles and capsules. I can not yet with certainty say that these washed down the flood control channel as well. It seems to be just another one of those issues that needs to be addressed in order to determine the contributing factors to this problem and how we can eventually come to resolve them.



Doug, one of the residents of the encampment assures us that no one from the camp hauled it down there since at first I really got some pretty creepy feelings thinking I ran into one of those back in the country meth labs you hear about in those documentaries... the plaque associated to that drug and how people insist on being obstinate in it's manufacture. I am sure that will be something Island Suns will delve into in the future especially when we get to the areas up and around East Valley Parkway.

Back to Doug and to my surprise, he wades into the creek just to show where it seems as if piles upon piles of nails had settled themselves into the creek bed.







I just can't even begin to think along with all the other materials stewing in this creek what health concerns affects the homeless, the wildlife and some of the kids that come down to fish and who as you can see handle them on quite a regular basis.



Thankfully no one has admitted to actually cooking and eating some of these up... yuck... can't even imagine though and on runs like these where it is necessary for me to take photos and document these events, I, on my return, do feel a strong need to employ a form of decontamination where I basically wipe and wash down my shoes, gloves and other equipment including my bike with a mixture of ammonia and hot water.



So if you are not angry yet well you should be. Even in not being a resident of Escondido, who knows what types of neglect and disdain for the environment is going on in your area. This has nothing to do with sitting in trees or flushing the water in your toilet only when the efficient amount of urine is achieved.

This is basic and for those that live in Escondido, it is in our backyards practically. It is in the aquaduct and it eventually is emptied back into the natural creek bed and is not only polluting but basically killing the environment we all live in. We can share and enjoy this environment as should be the case.

With all the bail out-s going on in a seemingly endless flurry around us, who is going to bail out our most precious resource... our environment? Our we going to wait until some famous politician in Washington makes his way to our neck of the woods to finally do something or are we just going to brush aside, out of sight out of mind.

I could go to the Wild Animal Park for some peeks at wildlife no?, but later on in the story as this one evolves, one will surprised to learn all the wildlife that we have here and that is being treated in such a manner. I also look forward to the day maybe in a year or 2 or 3 yet hopefully sooner, I can take my photos in what should otherwise be a beautiful and natural setting without having to worry about stumbling upon some rusting bicycles and or tentatively accepting a meal prepared in a possibly not so sterile manner by those that have found in it a refuge. It was extended to me though in the humblest of graces so I just couldn't outright refuse and I would hope that as this project progresses, we learn to extend to our environment, the concerns and proper respect it is so rightfully due.

Below is a short film of the initial stage of Operation Buck-A-Bag. Please visit also the the Escondido City website and continue to voice your concerns.

video

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